A major goal of The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain is to introduce audiences to this unique approach to theatre at one of North America's longest-running, most distinctive and exciting theatre companies, first through the documentary and then through a collection of "beyond broadcast" elements and classroom activities for educators.
George Bernard Shaw is important to use in the classroom because not only is he one of the greatest playwrights of all time, but he was also a political and social activist. Shaw expressed his opinions through his work. He hoped that his audiences would see the importance in the topics he presented on stage and would take action in their own lives.
What is the value to students?
Students can learn from Shaw. He was ingenious and thoughtful enough to create essentially a work of art out of controversial topics that made an impact. Shaw made awareness interesting. By reading or viewing a Shaw play, students are exposed to a wonderful piece of literature, but also very thought-provoking and important issues. Most of the topics that Shaw wrote about are still relevant today: social classes, women’s rights, equality and more.
These activities were designed to be used in a middle school classroom setting along with the production The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain and its associated bonus video material. Feel free to use them as starters to more in-depth lessons and units or use them as-is.